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Publisher's Summary

How the female body has been racialized for more than 200 years

There is an obesity epidemic in this country, and poor Black women are particularly stigmatized as "diseased" and a burden on the public health-care system. This is only the most recent incarnation of the fear of fat Black women, which Sabrina Strings shows took root more than 200 years ago. 

Strings weaves together an eye-opening historical narrative ranging from the Renaissance to the current moment, analyzing important works of art, newspaper and magazine articles, and scientific literature and medical journals - where fat bodies were once praised - showing that fat phobia, as it relates to Black women, did not originate with medical findings, but with the Enlightenment era belief that fatness was evidence of "savagery" and racial inferiority. 

The author argues that the contemporary ideal of slenderness is, at its very core, racialized and racist. Indeed, it was not until the early 20th century, when racialized attitudes against fatness were already entrenched in the culture, that the medical establishment began its crusade against obesity. An important and original work, Fearing the Black Body argues convincingly that fat phobia isn't about health at all, but rather a means of using the body to validate race, class, and gender prejudice.

©2019 New York University (P)2020 Tantor

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What listeners say about Fearing the Black Body

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Enlightening!

Highly recommend. Everyone acts like fat is the enemy...now I understand the genesis of the phobia. Great in pulling it all together.

5 people found this helpful

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Please re-record with the author

My only regret is that the author isn’t reading this. I want her voice reading this important work.

4 people found this helpful

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A must-read for anyone in medicine or public health

I bought this book as part of researching an academic article and found it so rich and compelling that I had to completely rewrite my chapter around Strings’ work. As a specialist in health equity, this book is timely, well researched, and surprising even for people already knowledgeable about the role of antiblackness in medicine. An absolutely crucial challenge to the diet industry and continuing medical racism.

4 people found this helpful

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Highly educational. Really recommend.

Not only is this educational for the purpose of understanding the origins of fatphobia I believe this does an incredible job of explaining how racial bias is at the root cause of most health/weight criticisms/even moral stigma behind being larger bodied people.

2 people found this helpful

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Dryly presented historical detail

Subject was interesting but I couldn’t listen long at one time because it was delivered in a monotone.

2 people found this helpful

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very educational

It felt very thorough, and clearly explained the history and repercussionsof the topic. I learned a lot from it.

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Excellent Book

This was excellent. I feel like it filled in a knowledge gap I wasn’t aware I had.

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fascinating!

I really enjoyed the deep dive into the history of the body and the impact of weight, race, class had on its perception and the intersection of the body with all the above plus health and beauty. Narrator was also very good!

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Well researched & informative

As a healthcare provider, I was always aware of racial disparities in patient outcomes. This book finally explains why and where this all began and why and how it continues today. At times, it was difficult to listen to, but necessary. We need to know why BIPOC are treated the way they are in the medical field in hopes that those who learn about this can make a change. Very impressed by the amount of research put into this. I will recommend this to all my peers, friends & family.

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An insightful read on body politics

I really enjoyed this historical lens on fatphobia and its racialized beginnings. highly recommend

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  • Olivia Woodward
  • 08-20-20

Amazing book unfortunately bad narration

An incredible, well written and thoughtful book, only issue was the narration is not good! Its very unemotional and robotic, like A.I. The content its self is great so perhaps got for an old fashioned book

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kindle-klant
  • 12-11-21

Essential reading

The not surprising but shocking truth behind fatphobia and racism. This should be a mandatory read in schools, for mothers to be, health care workers

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • AMA LIVE!
  • 05-21-21

Essential Reading

All people need to read this. Debunks many theories. Thoroughly brilliant. Eye opening, chilling, heartbreaking and empowering.

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  • Honeyx
  • 01-22-21

Unpacking the weight of white fear & self hatred

Excellently researched expose on how racism white supremacist patriarchy has used to black dehumanisation based on fear to justify their delusions of superiority

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Emi Looker
  • 07-11-20

Eye opening!

Amazing, very much needed read for every human being specially women. Very clear, and inspiring message